Cosmic Strings and Cosmic Superstrings
In these lectures, I review the current status of cosmic strings and cosmic superstrings. I first discuss topological defects in the context of Grand Unified Theories, focusing in particular in cosmic strings arising as gauge theory solitons. I discuss the reconciliation between cosmic strings and cosmological inflation, I review cosmic string dynamics, cosmic string thermodynamics and cosmic string gravity, which leads to a number of interesting observational signatures. I then proceed with the notion of cosmic superstrings arising at the end of brane inflation, within the context of brane-world cosmological models inspired from string theory. I discuss the differences between cosmic superstrings and their solitonic analogues, I review our current understanding about the evolution of cosmic superstring networks, and I then briefly describe the variety of observational consequences, which may help us to get an insight into the stringy description of our Universe.